Nothing is more important than making sure our little ones have the best and most nutritional foods. We start off giving our babies breastmilk or formula, and then we get that green light from the doctor that we can start introducing solid foods and it is a whole new ball game. Where do we start? What do we start with? It becomes just one of the many transitions we, and our little ones, have to get through together.
The norm for introducing solid foods had always been when your little one is 6-months-old. That is now changing, with some doctors saying to introduce solids as early as 4-months-old. That was the instructions I was given for my own daughter, and I was terrified. I became very fearful of allergies and of choking. We started with the basic, oat cereal and gradually worked our way up to vegetables first. We did it the ‘old-fashioned’ way, in which we pureed everything. That is apparently not the ‘cool’ way to do it anymore.
There will always be trends, and trends about everything. Did you know that there are trends about how to feed your child? You mean there are ways other than pureed foods? Yup! One of the most popular being baby-led weaning, where you offer any and everything how an adult would eat it. This allows kids to get to know their foods in their natural form.
I’m all for whatever you need to do as a mama to get your baby to eat. So I have found 15 of the latest and hottest baby feeding trends that you will want to check out, you may learn something new or find one that you want to give a try!
15 Baby Led Weaning
We will start with one of the most well-known baby feeding trends that a lot of moms are using these days. This is the act of letting the baby feed themselves. This plan skips the puree altogether and allows babies to explore and eat whole, solid foods themselves. There are also no restrictions on food, it could be a carrot, broccoli or even a piece of meat. One of the pro’s of this method is that it really does encourage infants to eat healthy table foods with the family, which can lead to a non-picky eater.
The scary thing about this trend is that it can be dangerous. By offering babies solid foods there will always be a choking risk. Babies do not know how to eat, which is what makes puree the safer option. They also may not have teeth by the time they start solids, so even with baby led weaning, the foods must be soft enough for them to mash with their gums.
14 Going Vegetarian
Everyone has different lifestyles, and a lot of the world is vegetarian or vegan. When people who do not eat meat find themselves expecting, they often wonder if they should be offering their little one’s meat. I am sure they get countless un-wanted opinions on the fact that they should be feeding their child meat, but the truth is, they can do whatever they like. It is a fast approaching trend that people are raising their children as vegetarians, and that starts as soon as their little one is born.
The good thing about this trend is it is very healthy, eating plants, fruits, whole grains and vegetables has always been nothing but good for a person’s body. The dangers is to make sure they are getting the protein and other nutrients that are found in large supply in meat. This can be very easily done, and with some consultation from your doctor can be very beneficial to your little one.
13 No Way, Gluten!
I am one of those people who just doesn’t understand where all this intolerance to gluten came from. It seems like a ‘new’ issue that we just didn’t have only 10 years ago. Although, I am sure that there have always been people who could not handle gluten in their diet, it is only now become more and more talked about. So, of course there is a new trend on just avoiding gluten all together when you are talking about your little one’s diet.
These types of feeding trends are great as they encourage children to eat other whole foods, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice and quinoa. All of these are naturally gluten-free and are incredible nutritious. The issue could be that there isn’t really a reason to cut out gluten unless your child is showing signs of being intolerant to it. Items like whole-grain bread and pasta can be foods that are high in energy that you may be depriving your child of if you go gluten-free.
12 Pushing Back Solids
While I stated that the earliest you can start solid’s is 4 months, and that most babies have started solids by 6-months of age, there are a lot of people out there trying out this new trend. The new trend is to completely push back the start of solids, even until their baby is 9 to 12 months of age. They will continue to use formula and/or breastmilk as the main source of food until that time. There is of course nutritionally benefits of breastfeeding until a year, it does provide all the nutrition and antibodies that your baby technically needs.
The problem with this is not so much that they are lacking anything nutritionally, but that they need to learn to eat. They need to learn the act of chewing and swallowing. It can also take a long time before a baby takes to solid foods. Experiencing and learning about different tastes and textures can take some time.
11 Green Food Only
This trend is very popular among vegetarians and vegans all over the world, and we can understand why. This trend has one rule, the baby only eats foods that are green until the age of 1. You may now start to automatically think of all the foods you can that are green, and may have realized that options are not that vast. The good news is that by using this method, your baby will get a high amount of exposure to healthy vegetables that children do not normally like; think broccoli, peas and green beans.
What can be worrisome about this trend is that while green vegetables have a high amount of iron in them, they do not contain enough of other nutrients that babies need to grow. Protein as well as other key nutrients will be missing from their diet if they are not exposed to other foods that are not green.
10 Pouch Only Zone
The world of feeding babies has really gotten more and more convenient as time goes on. There are now these great little inventions called food pouches that you will see in every store. They are mess-free and super easy to just grab and go with. They also are usually all organic, which appeals to mom’s everywhere that assures that their baby is eating healthy food.
Pouches are great, but they should not be used for all of the baby’s meals. A lot of them have high amounts of sugar in them, and they have been shown to aid in babies over eating as they are easy to suck up. Bottom line is they are great, and can be used when in a pinch or out for a walk and your little one gets a little hangry. However, they should not be used as the main source of all meals.
9 Feeding Nets
No, I don’t mean putting your baby in a net and feeding them, that would not be a feeding trend that would be child abuse. I am talking about the little feeding pouches they sell with nets attached that allow babies to safely enjoy fruits and vegetables by eliminating choking risks. The idea is that parents will place the fresh fruit and vegetables in the net and the baby can chew on them getting all the juices out.
The benefits are obvious, they allow baby to enjoy the juice and tiny pieces of fruit that slip through the holes, without the risk of choking. However, the negative is that this should not be the only means of food that the baby is getting. They do not get enough out of the mesh nets to provide any real sustenance that could substitute a ‘real meal’.
8 Bird Feeding
This one seems a little out there for me, but hey, you got to do what works for your family, so if you are part of the bird-feeding family all the power to you. Bird feeding is the trend of chewing your baby’s food for them, and then gently placing it in their mouth. It is technically called ‘premastication” but people refer to it as bird-feeing, because it is the exact way a bird feeds their babies.
There are a few things about this feeding trend that worry me. One is the amount of bacteria you can transfer from mouth-to-mouth. Now, I am not one of those mom’s and I frequently place my baby’s pacifier in my mouth when it falls on the ground and then give it back to her. This just seems a little bit too much for me to handle. Also, you want your baby to learn to chew and swallow their own food. We are not birds people!
7 Muffin-Tin Madness
This one seems right off the pages of pinterest, and it very well may have started there. It is not a trend on how to feed your baby, but instead on how you prepare meals for them. A lot of moms have started this trend of preparing any and all meals in muffin tins. They are not using these for just muffins anymore. Mom’s are making anything from oatmeal, eggs, mac-and-cheese and even meatloaf in muffin tins and are ending up with perfectly portioned, easy to eat meals.
There are countless recipes out there for these muffin tin type meals, and they can be incredibly helpful when eating on the go or packing school lunches if you have older kids too. They are also easier for a baby to pick up and chomp on themselves. Just make sure you don’t start a habit where your baby won’t eat anything unless it is in muffin tin shape.
6 Skip The Sippy Cup
Well, we are talking about feeding, so it is only right to include one new trend involving beverages. It seems pretty simple; baby goes from breast/bottle to sippy cup to normal cup. Well, there is a new trend starting that is saying it really is best to skip the sippy cup all together. Most parents out there are screaming NO as the sippy cup is very well loved. They are super convenient as they prevent spills and travel really well.
The new trend is to skip the sippy cup and go right for a normal cup. The reason being because when a child uses a sippy cup, they use an infant-like sucking motion and the spout prevents the front of the tongue from elevating during swallowing. This is thought to prevent a child from developing the independent lip, jaw and tongue movements needed to drink from a regular cup. Do with this information as you will, but I think we all know how to drink out of a cup, so I don’t know how accurate this new trend it.
5 Using Powdered Fruits And Vegetables
This is a relatively new trend, and that is the use of powdered fruits and vegetables. I didn’t even know this existed, but it apparently does and can be easily purchased at your local bulk foods store. The logic behind the use of these powders, is to try and sneak in some fruits or vegetables that your kid just won’t eat. We all try little sneaky tricks to get our kids to eat, usually it involves hiding peas under some mashed potatoes or something.
This may be the ultimate sneaky trend, but it may do more harm than good in the long run. You want to introduce a variety of foods to your baby even if they don’t like it at first. Infant’s can take up to seven times of trying new foods before they finally decide if they like something or not. By not letting kids try new foods and even “forcing” them to eat, you may have a picky eater on your hands.
4 Spice It Up
It was a big NO-NO back in the day to add spice to your baby’s food, well times are always changing and the addition of some flavour to our babies food is one of those things. It is become a new trend to start adding spice to your food, and I am not talking about just some salt and pepper, but some actually flavourful spices. There have been studies done that show that exposing children to a variety of spices has many benefits for our little ones.
They are not that unfamiliar with spices and flavour as we think they are. When women are pregnant, their amniotic fluid changes taste depending on what mom has eaten. So if mom loves Indian food, then her amniotic fluid would constantly have some flavour. Babies drink the fluid and they enjoy the change in flavour, so the same can be true when they are out in the real world.
3 All Organic
We all can agree on one thing; we want the best for our babies. The trend now is to make sure our babies have all organic food. I think a lot of people can agree that organic really is the best. Food that is pure and free from any and all hormones, pesticides and antibiotics if really the kind that we want for our children. A lot of mom’s who follow this trend and only give their baby organic food are often seen as “crunchy” mom’s, and not in a good way.
The one down-side of this organic-only trend, because yes I did find one, is that it can be quite expensive. While we want to give our children everything and the best of everything, we also need to be realistic about what we can afford. They need to have a place to live as well, so it really needs to fit into the parent’s budget.
2 Protein Sources Are On The Rise
As the world becomes more aware of the health benefits of going meat free, and the concern rises for the well-being of animals, more and more parents are searching for non-meat sources of protein for their children. This trend is up and coming, and it can be told because the sale of meat alternatives is estimated to reach about 5 billion dollars by the year 2020 (which is only 2.5 years away).
This trend is branching off from those families that prefer their child be a vegetarian. They were on the search for protein rich foods that they could feed their little ones. The truth is, most people only do require a small amount of protein-rich foods to meet the nutritional requirements. More than enough can be found in other protein sources, such as beans and vegetables.
1 Ready To Eat Meals
Us moms are busy creatures, we never stop. We are always doing something, cleaning something or feeding someone. We love things that are quick, easy and require very little preparation. The baby food companies know this, so they have started to create meals that are ready to eat, they only need to be heated up. These quick, small meals are perfect to just zap in the microwave and give our little one. No mess and very little work.
This is a rising trend for feeding our babies, and I don’t see it ending any time soon as the demands that are placed on mother’s is getting more and more every day. At the end of the day, as long as your baby is fed no one should care whether it was organic quinoa or a happy meal from McDonalds. Maybe you have found a new trick or tip to try on this list of hot baby feeding trends!
Sources: prnewswire.com, businesswire.com, thestir.cafemom.com, yummymummy.club.ca, fitpregnancy.com